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Can Jordan Peterson bring order? Unfortunately, his new book forgets the status quo simply doesn't work for everyone

Is Peterson still up for the fight? Photo by Gage Skidmore

Is Peterson still up for the fight? Photo by Gage Skidmore


March 2, 2021   9 mins

When Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor and author, first published his previous book, 12 Rules For Life, it aimed to encourage readers to impose structure and meaning on lives that lacked purpose and direction. The rules ranged from the sternly moral (“Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient”) to the playful (“Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street”).

These resonated strongly with many readers, particularly — but not exclusively — young men. They were augmented by lectures, debates and YouTube videos; the book itself has sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and counting.

His follow-up, Beyond Order, seeks to go further — this time into the necessary balance between “the two fundamental principles of reality”, order and chaos, and their manifestations in authority and creativity, conservatism and change.

As we learn from the preface, it was written in the course of a highly turbulent period which included his daughter’s surgery, his wife’s diagnosis with a terrifying form of cancer and Peterson’s own traumatic withdrawal from benzodiazepine, which triggered severe insomnia, crippling anxiety and a form of incessant restlessness known as akathisia. Under such circumstances — in which both Peterson and his wife felt near to death — it might be considered a triumph to have produced a book at all. The opening rule is, in part, an explicit acknowledgement of how difficult it is to make something, as opposed to tearing it down: “Do not casually denigrate social institutions or creative achievement.”

In the course of his rise to public prominence, Peterson has faced rather a lot of casual, and not-so-casual, denigration himself, along with unusually powerful levels of adoration from those who feel that they have been greatly helped by his books and lectures. The very nature of what Peterson represents — an unashamed didacticism, a strong emphasis on personal responsibility and a dogged resistance to progressive orthodoxies — has made him a kind of human lightning rod for the cultural conflicts of our age.

In Beyond Order, Peterson is reliably thought-provoking, often engrossing and occasionally a little ponderous in style. Indeed, with its careful explorations of myths, symbolism, fictional themes and clinical case studies, it is difficult to comprehend how his latest book reportedly had a number of junior employees at Penguin Random House Canada protesting, and even becoming tearful, at the decision to publish it. But then it is also hard to tell which version of Jordan Peterson, real or constructed, they were primarily reacting to: the author, the Toronto psychology professor, the YouTuber, the Tweeter, the combative debater, the indignant scourge of much left-wing dogma, or — more recently —the public player in a painful and complex human drama of illness and addiction?

Beyond Order, of course, is the creation of Peterson the author, whose words are weighed and qualified, and whose instructional paragraphs seek to strip his readers of their most damaging self-delusions while shoring them up with a measure of empathy. It “explores as its overarching theme how the dangers of too much security and control might be profitably avoided” and how to face fear and harness creativity in a way that is useful.

By way of illustration, Peterson includes a number of case studies from his clinical psychology. In these he comes across as a conscientious practitioner, who listens sympathetically to clients, cares about their recovery and searches for ingenious — if at times unusual — ways to help them.

Among his patients are a young, black, gay man who was psychologically devastated by a violent row with an ex-boyfriend, and a young, white woman emotionally paralysed by the workaday cruelties of the wider world, including the array of death laid out for consumption at the butcher’s shop. In both cases Peterson’s clients needed to come to terms with the troubling aspects of human nature — sexuality, violence and mortality — and wrestle them back into proportion (in the case of the hypersensitive young woman, his recovery plan included accompanying her to watch the embalming of a corpse).

Peterson has a sharp eye for the vagaries of human nature, and he can be a compelling storyteller, especially when narrating his own experiences and those he has observed from life. There is a fair amount of wisdom in Beyond Order, of the kind that used to be called common sense, but which might need restating in an era when views on what constitutes sense are no longer reliably held in common.

A waiter tells Peterson, for example, how helpful his book and videos had been, as a result of which — in the author’s words — the waiter had “changed his attitude toward his comparatively lower status (but still useful and necessary) job”. Instead of despising his job, and himself, he had applied himself as fully as possible, and as a result been promoted three times in six months.

Peterson anatomises the considerable skills and interactions needed to be a successful waiter, from constant attentiveness to fostering good relations with chefs and tricky customers alike. For those who apply themselves to the difficulty of doing such jobs well, Peterson says: “The skills they acquire will be eminently portable.” Perhaps young people used to absorb this kind of nous instinctively when watching and learning from older mentors in practical settings: the farm, the workshop, the restaurant, the factory. No doubt many still do. But for those who may be freshly entering the world of work after an extended period in school and college, where the focus is placed more narrowly on intellectual achievements, it is worthwhile spelling it out.

Peterson is never shy of spelling things out — but then again, it seems that plenty of his readers welcome his didacticism, and if they don’t, why pick up a book with another 12 rules in it? In any case, he’s adept at blending the practical, the personal and the philosophical. Chapters such as “Try to make one room in your home as beautiful as possible” — a progression from his earlier instruction to clean up your room – move into an exploration of the role and transcendent power of art, his own past failure to enjoy the world through the eyes of his small children and an inherently comic run-in with a disapproving university administrator after he hatched a plan to beautify his office with Hammerite paint and wooden panelling.

Yet while the book repeatedly stresses the need for a balance between conservative and liberal forces in society — order and chaos again — its arguments become much hazier on political territory. Peterson’s own experience of the increasingly feverish displays of thought-policing in modern universities no doubt partly informs his impatience with the devotees of ideology. But some of the “-isms” which he criticises — such as socialism, feminism and environmentalism — began as a way of addressing genuine wrongs in the existing society, and often did so peacefully and successfully, which is no small achievement.

It was the practical, patriotic socialism of Clement Attlee, for example, which gave Britain its National Health Service. It was feminist campaigning that secured women votes, equal pay legislation, property rights, financial independence and a network of women’s refuges from domestic violence. Peterson, who makes a convincing case for marriage in general, also vividly acknowledges that failures occur even within broadly beneficial social institutions: “Sometimes, you have married someone who is a psychopathic brute, a congenital and incorrigible liar, a criminal, an alcoholic, a sadist (and maybe all five at once). Then you must escape.”

Yet how exactly might a woman have escaped from such a marriage, say, in the Republic of Ireland of the 1960s, except in the most abject of styles? Up until 1976, a husband could sell or mortgage the family home without the consent or knowledge of his wife. The “marriage bar”, which prevented any married woman from working in the public sector, was not revoked until 1973. And divorce itself was not legalised until 1996. It required a movement to exert sufficient social pressure to alter these things, and the movement required a name.

Today, the feminist movement contains many different strands, some of them seeming to work in opposition. It can often appear now as if useful social action is being supplanted by stunts, relatively trivial shaming campaigns and ideological rows conducted in increasingly jargon-laden language. Energies may arguably be flowing into the wrong place: it is striking, for example, that while so much feminist academic discourse is generated in the US, it remains the only OECD country without a national statutory paid maternity leave. But in a world that still includes FGM, forced marriage, domestic violence, “revenge porn” and a growing normalisation in the West of violence against women during sex, there is surely still a place for a vigorous international movement which explicitly centres the concerns of women and girls.

In his writings and YouTube videos, Peterson speaks engagingly of strategies for self-transformation, with emphasis on bolstering one’s character and moral purpose before taking on the rest of the world: stand up straight, clean your room, do not lie, do not do what you hate. Some of Peterson’s critics find the simplicity and directness of such advice mockable, but I think there is sense in it, and its effect may be more profound than one might initially imagine.

One cannot expect a single book — or even two books — to contain the theory of everything. But since Beyond Order explicitly discusses the tension between the status quo and the necessity for change, one might reasonably ask: how exactly does Peterson think that the change part should be pursued?

Both the rage and the gratitude which flows towards Peterson from millennials and Generation Z, for example, is partly a result of the way in which certain social structures have hardened around them. It is not simply that they have been conditioned to consider their rights over their responsibilities, as he says, although that might well be true. In many cases their passage towards independent adulthood, even to the point of affording a home and supporting children, has been made much more difficult by forces beyond their control. A combination of high house prices and the rapid expansion of an insecure “gig” and freelancing economy has placed many young workers — including highly-educated, middle-class ones — in a financial situation of near-permanent precarity.

Peterson, rightly, warns against resentment, “that terrible hybrid emotional state, an admixture of anger and self-pity”. But even worse than resentment, surely, is misdirected resentment. Much of today’s ideological fury, which plays out on social media, strikes me as a form of generational revenge, whereby language has become the only battleground upon which angry young people can score a decisive victory. We have all now seen the drama unfurl a number of times: a professionally successful person might say something mildly questionable in Twitter, say, or state an opinion at odds with the fast-changing template of what is considered socially acceptable by a vociferous minority. The clamour for their instant ejection from public life begins. Corporations join in because policing the nuances of acceptable speech has become an easy way of signalling solidarity with “progressive” youth and attracting their disposable income. They also find it preferable to paying adequate tax or offering young employees a solid pay and benefits structure that might permit them a more economically secure life.

To some extent, Peterson has turned this implicit modern bargain on its head. His books have proved highly profitable at the same time as he decries the burgeoning call-out culture of the Left. Much of Beyond Order delves deep into myth, embodying chaos in the form of the snake or the dragon. But it is hard to avoid the suspicion that when a younger generation looks at Peterson they find themselves wrestling, not with Grendel’s mother, but with a different archetype: Dad. Some of them, perhaps lacking paternal authority themselves, are clearly heartened by his insistence that they have agency in the world, and must therefore own it. Others are infuriated by his apparent repudiation of the arguments on societal structure that they consider vitally important.

Peterson does not seem a duplicitous person, but rather unusually sincere and emotional. That is, perhaps, what makes him both so testy and so effective when challenged in debate. He operates with a degree of personal courage under considerable stress, and has clearly been wounded, in the past, by the ways in which some critics have made blithely contemptuous suppositions about him. The Canadian writer Tabatha Southey, for example, once dubbed him “the stupid man’s smart person”, a phrase that reeked of intellectual entitlement. But who exactly are these “stupid men” to whom she referred? And if the “smart man’s smart person” hasn’t yet worked out a way to make themselves broadly intelligible to ordinary people, then whose failing is that?

Peterson has an army of loyal online followers, some of whom enjoy framing verbal debate like an MMA fight — “Jordan goes beast mode!” — and there are times when it feels as if Peterson himself (as in the interesting, broadly courteous debate with Helen Lewis) subsequently characterises the interaction as more malevolent than it appeared to many who watched it.

It is natural to like people who are explicitly on your side, especially when you often feel yourself assailed by waves of genuine hostility. Yet there can be more shared values with perceived opponents than this electronic reiteration of opposition allows for. The amplification of bad feeling by commentators on social media can result in Peterson and whoever has publicly engaged with him, particularly women, both feeling bruised by the encounter. And, given his intermittent tendency to depression, the growing visibility of his own, clearly beloved family on Twitter and YouTube — those unpredictable, exposing arenas whose effects we do not yet fully understand — worries me a little.

The alt-Right and its conspiracy theories have recently gained a concerning amount of ground, while much of the volatile energy of the “progressive” Left is now primarily directed not at self-evident bigots and racists, for example, but also at anyone who dares to argue for working in a different style towards a better, more harmonious society. That has stifled actual progress and sucked political energies into the never-ending competitive pieties of the culture wars. But it is also leaving a growing number of liberals feeling alienated from this particular version of left-wing politics. If Peterson is right to be wary of policies that demand enforced equality of outcome, there is surely much common ground to be found in reducing the existing disparities in equality of opportunity — or at least those that can be reduced.

Perhaps Peterson’s next book might engage with the looming question he has left broadly unanswered in this one, interesting though it is. Many institutions contain much that is of value, but we cannot always assume that the “hierarchy of competence” which he talks about is working, especially where the careful sifting of evidence shows that it is not. Governments are repeatedly lobbied by forces that do not always have the best interests of ordinary people at heart, and policy is often corrupted by short-term thinking and responses.

So when things do go awry, what can we agree needs fixing, and how might disparate groups of individuals best co-operate to effect valuable political change? In a world that has come to salivate over the constant drama of a battle, that is one discussion which might really subvert expectations.


Jenny McCartney is a journalist, commentator and author of the novel The Ghost Factory.

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Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

Ms McCartney
You are fundamentally wrong.
When you talk about oppressed woman in abusive marriages having no escape, and have sly digs at men with daddy issues, you reveal both your smug sanctimony and your lack of understanding. Traditional societies were not defined by male dominance but by traditional roles. Just as a woman could not escape a bad marriage, neither could a man. Social roles were proscribed along social values. What power did poor men have but to die in wars or live miserable existence in hard pitiless labour? You may argue against social roles, but it was not roles and rules for women and complete freedom for men.
And the purpose of social roles was to impose order on primitive libidinal chaos (the id, if you like that jargon). Rules will always constrain, just as complete freedom will always be nihilistic.
Once you are wise enough to stop seeing everything as a gender war, you will realise that JP’s rules apply to all humans. Woman need to take responsibility too. Suffering is universal. The need for order and the equally strong need for breaking rules occur in all human beings. We all crave safety and security; we all must pay a little price in individual freedoms for that security. Or we are all equally free as moral agents to break social roles and accept the consequences.
But first you must rise above your narrow understanding of the world.

Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Well said.
Peterson outlines incredibly well how brutal life has been for *all* people in previous generations and still is for most now. The liberal over-educated parts of the West have decided that it’s about identitarianism now and cannot see beyond it, manufacturing outrage to order to quell boredom and lack of life purpose.
Peterson calls it out and many of us see it for what it is: subversive amd dangerous.

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

Your life must suck.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  David Hartlin

Imagine someone asking the same question about feminist groups?
Your sexism is appealing.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

Appalling.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

Feminists get things done for which women!?, They never asked my consent or my view – the majority of women don’t like new age feminism! I believe in my right to self determination over ID politics and group identity! I speak for myself and won’t allow another group to force me into id politics or make rules on “my behalf”! I won’t have some radicals assume my voice for me!, or have special laws and money diverted to them either!! Feminists in my book are not wanted, and I want nothing to do with them!

Last edited 3 years ago by Natalija Svobodné
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Back in the 60s and 70s I used to really enjoy reading the Feminist books which were very hot at the time, and were very much about Middle Class. The position basically was that Men and women went to university for two very different reasons, with striking differences.

Men went to University get professions to be successful. Women went to be worthy of becoming their wives. (which is the reason for humanities degrees, to make attractive spouses who could have high conversation and be cultured at dinner parties, basically be trophy spouses, but not very employable.)

So these educated women went from highly stimulating University to cleaning a big house and tending infants wile the man did stimulating work, coming home tired, fulfilled, with the wife was desperate for some intellectual exchange. This led to their going crazyish, and Valium and so on.

That was Feminism as it began. This is not the case now, and Feminism has moved on, in many ways an answer looking for a problem.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Education is not just about becoming employable (or a worthy wife, for that matter). And feminism didn’t suddenly spring into existence in 1960; the Suffragists who campaigned for votes for women were undoubtedly feminist in their way – and they were not the first.
Not that all battles fought by today’s feminists are necessarily wise, or even well fought.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Feminism was merely an interesting idea until the pill freed women from pregnancy. Feminists blame an abstraction, t

Nick Pointon
Nick Pointon
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Ah, so because one male’s grasp of the history is a bit awry then it’s the case with all of them. And anyways that doesn’t negate their right to an opinion or engage in debate.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Could that injunction be labelled at females? Femsplaining MR activism to men? Femsplaining why MRAism has an asserted outcome?

Mike Miller
Mike Miller
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Neither did that.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

I don’t know if you vote at all, but wasn’t giving women the vote a significant victory for feminism?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

You’ve been brainwashed by feminist propaganda, “the vote” had less to do with feminism than you think. Women’s suffrage gradually spread across the world from the end of the 19th century onwards without feminist’s help, largely due to industrialisation and wealth. Only in the US and Britain were some women vociferous in their demands and interestingly enough they were given the vote by their countries later than others.
See my comment further down.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

oh you poor thing. Reading the MRA revisionist propaganda lowers your IQ dramatically.

Nick Pointon
Nick Pointon
3 years ago

And you accuse your opponents of “always being with the hostility”. Cast out the beam in your own eye etc.

Mike Miller
Mike Miller
3 years ago

…or that.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

The Suffraget s were sexists who fought only for votes for women, ignoring the 40% of men who also didn’t have the vote.

In fact, women only got the vote when working class men returned from the trenches and demanded the franchise. The decision was made to extent voting rights for all citizens at that point.

The Suffragettes didn’t win the vote for women. It was won by the blood of men.

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

well that wins the utterly full of b.s. award. Where in the deep dark crevices of the gluteous maximus do you males pull these fantasies out of…Emily Davidson was forced fed 49 times in seven imprisonments before she martyred herself for the vote via racehorse.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

Or you could just do some reading..

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

Lot of insults there and no evidence refuting the claims of John Jones. Have you always been so unable to debate like a grown up?

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago

Absolutely, sister.

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

yes, handmaidens are always willing to let other women do all the work and then knife them in the back to curry favor with the males who will always despise them no matter what.

Mike Miller
Mike Miller
3 years ago

Do you have any male friends Micah ?

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago

I never said a word about “new age feminism”. You can relax and stop using the exclamation points btw, it’s exhausting to read.

Nick Pointon
Nick Pointon
3 years ago

Quite. We don’t want any posts that are exhausting to read now do we?

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

It was blue pilled men who put in place systems and lawas which the feminists wanted

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

I think you’ll find Father’s for Justice effected change.

Last edited 3 years ago by bsema
Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

Feminists get things done for women

Which women? I’m a woman and nothing feminism ever did was for me. More like against me. And you’ll find i represent the views of the majority of women on that.

what we have achieved is being taken apart by transvestite uber-white-privileged males 

And that’s why i’m a bit torn on the trans issue. On one hand, it’s so grotesquely, ridiculously absurd that i cannot comment on it with a straight face. On the other hand though, they are pissing off all the feminists, and i like that. Also they are blokes (however much they insist they aren’t), and as a heterosexual woman i like blokes.
So, in a binary choice between feminists and trannies, the tranny blokes get my vote any day.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

twit

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

Fascinating read, Micah. Truly, writing is a window into one’s soul. Your soul seems to cry in a longing for…something.

Anyhoo, back to the topic: You seem to want to control the definition of feminism.

Fortunately for all of us, you don’t.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

Perhaps the reason why men’s rights groups haven’t made much progress is the active opposition by feminists to men’s groups who try to achieve equality.

Consider the feminist opposition to the movie The Red Pill, a film made by a former feminist investigating men’s issues. Feminists in Australia and Canada managed to ban the film, effectively de-platforming the attempt to investgate mens issues,

Nick Pointon
Nick Pointon
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

The category error you make here is to see Peterson as a champion of male rights per se, a sort of male version of you. Then of course he has “done nothing” in terms of who you perceive him to be. What he has done is to call into question the idea of a male patriarchy as the way feminists see it, and has the temerity to question your world-view, so you descend into ad hominem attacks. Anyone can attach power-laden words like “whining” to someone’s discourse, but this isn’t intelligent debate.

rvidunas
rvidunas
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

“I don’t even think men know HOW to fight for the rights of lower status males.” — Nothing inhibits lower status males more than general feminist indignation towards them. Their status and living experiences are just getting more dismal with #MeToo and total gender equality in education and management jobs. Among men there was at least some code of cultivated conduct.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

@Micah – but Feminism had the big advantage that men tend naturally to feel protective and helpful towards women. While neither men nor women naturally feel sympathetic to ‘loser’ men.
I think that where there have been advances in men’s rights, such as equal child custody presumptions here in the UK, they have often been more a side effect of Feminism*, of equal-handed application of Liberal Equality principles, or just from a recognition that fair treatment for men gives the best outcome for other more sympathised-with groups, such as the children of divorced parents.
*My impression is British Feminism doesn’t seem nearly as hostile to men as much of US Feminism.

Last edited 3 years ago by Simon Newman
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

There is an interesting hypothesis called Gamma Bias. The bias is a cognitive distortion of which one of your instances could be applied to the distortion as a confirmatory example. I am still waiting to see when this hypothesis undergoes empirical testing and replication.
The lack of action in the so-called MRA movement might be explained also by this supposed background context, if it turns out to be confirmed via multiple studies. Putting it down to a univariate causation of lack of grass roots action fails to explain why this is so.

Iain McCausland
Iain McCausland
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

You have fallen into the trap once again of seeing everything through female v male. Surely it is all of us who need a better way to live?

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

Where did the MRA movement come into this? Peterson does not whine or support those that do, he advocates the complete opposite- taking responsibility and standing up for yourself, absolutely not self pity. Peterson is not an activist nor claims to be. He is exceptionally good at analysing describing and critiquing social structures and strategies and that is what people enjoy. On the subject of standing up for rights of the lower status what do you think the trade union movement was all about then, nearly all male until recent times. Women would never have got the vote and had the rights they enjoy today without the support of men within the trade union movement.

imackenzie56
imackenzie56
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

I think you may not understand men. Do you have brothers? Did your father love you? Did you know or have any Uncles (actually, often more important than fathers)? You want men to fight for the rights of “lower status men”? Do you fight for the rights of lower status women who don’t agree with you? Please.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

When you get over 40 downvotes (at last count) you should probably have the sense to look at yourself in the mirror carefully…

Mike Miller
Mike Miller
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

Thumbs up.

Mike Miller
Mike Miller
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

That didn’t go down very well did it Micah ?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I agree Vikram.
Feminist indoctrination runs deep; both the belief that they, feminists, have forced social change already, and that they can put an end to particular types of violence, tribal customs and behaviour by pathologizing men. The greater freedom of women throughout the 20th century in the West has been largely driven by the requirements of the market and the liberal humanism that has developed alongside that, neither are necessarily ‘good’ or better than what existed before.

Peterson’s most simple advice to put your own house in order first before trying to change the world is one of the best. But egos, ideologies and money tempt people away from that good advice all the time.
Oh what it is to be human.

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Oh my! You should be concerned by the depth of your delusion.

Nick Pointon
Nick Pointon
3 years ago
Reply to  David Hartlin

Not with hostility then, Micah?

Edward Freeman
Edward Freeman
3 years ago
Reply to  David Hartlin

There’s been a lot of nonsense said above and below. Not just by you. But on this… I must say… that feels like an unfair attack on the man not the ball. Your argument seems to be that Peterson is a fraud and a charlatan for writing observational books intended as advice.. while suffering in his own life and with his own life choices. Why? Wasn’t Hemingway a drunk? Wasn’t MLk a womaniser? I’m sure all of the marvellous and celebrated feminists of our times have had some deep character flaws.. their personal battles don’t necessarily make their arguments invalid. Just because my girl friend squawks doesn’t mean I shouldn’t listen to and honour her.

Peterson’s fundamental message in both books (although like the author of this article I haven’t yet reached the midpoint of the sequel) seems to be … things are hard and often deeply flawed.. so strive to make them better without fixating on perfection… that seems like a pretty harmless message to me. And possibly one a lot of people will benefit from contemplating

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Yes and the Berlin Wall fell because Gorby decided to be a good guy.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Women in Japan got the vote because MacArthur forced the Japanese to accept it in the constitution he forced on them – he gave the women the vote because it would stop the culture of Militarism, which it did. Their constitution has the record of being the longest in effect without any changes at all.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

If you mean Emily Davison, noted arsonist, who attacked people with a bullwhip, what specifically were her accomplishments? When she died women still didn’t have the vote and it was not until Davison was long gone and thousands of women had been recruited for war work that Parliament granted some women the vote if they were over a certain age and owned property. Davison herself accomplish nothing.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Indeed, and it is highly likely that the terrorist activity of the suffragettes, including bombing, arson, acid attacks through letter boxes and criminal damage, actually delayed women getting the vote. No sensible government would give way to violence like that.

Women’s suffrage was already gradually spreading worldwide before WWI, in New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Norway and partially in Sweden women had suffrage, without the need for terrorism of any kind.

It is quite reasonable to suppose that if the suffragettes had not caused so much trouble, all women in Britain would have got the vote in 1919 (as they did in Germany) instead of having to wait another decade.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I agree. Women’s participation in war efforts, so necessary and so praised, changed the course of history in so many ways, not the least of which were employment and suffrage. It wasn’t someone burning things down that led to anything good for women.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Wyoming was the first State in USA to give women the vote, 1921 I think. This was because (I believe) because women had to run the Ranch and farm business wile the men worked on them, they were economically equal of necessity, not because they they protested. It was a different economy than any other.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The 19th amendment to the constitution passed in August 1920, it gave women the right to vote nationally in the US.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

When I read loony guff like this I long for the return of the ‘block’ functionality.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Ah those brave women. They made all those boys who died on the Somme look like pussies.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

No, they were given it by sympathetic male legislators. They had no power to take it for themselves.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Britain entered the industrial Revolution in the 1780s and by 1900 there were plenty of upper middle class women whom had income from investments, family trusts, owned pubs, market stalls. The Married Wmens property Act of 1860 meant they kept their assets after marriage. Obtaining the vote was an extension of economic independence and so gained the greatest support from upper middle class women. Women living in slums who had witness several of her children die of poverty was less concerned with the vote. .

Mike Miller
Mike Miller
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

That really is going too far. How dare you be so insulting?

Diotima Socrates
Diotima Socrates
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

The suffragettes were certainly a mixed bag, and had lots of crazies in their ranks. The organisation was also something of a personal fiefdom of Emmeline Pankhurst, and was very much a middle and upper class class affair.
One of the events that galvanised lots of women into the Sufferage movement was the spreading of the franchise to a range of men that permitted some domestic servants to exercise the vote. The very notion that a creature as worthless as a servant might have some status that didn’t properly reflect their complete inferiority to their mistress in every respect drove a lot of upper class women into a near apoplectic state. The idea, for example, that a fully grown male gardener might silently put up with being addressed like a child, or being bullied, but harbour secret thoughts along the lines of, “Well, I might have to tolerate your shit, but I’ve still got the vote and you haven’t,” drove some women into wild indignation.
It’s also worth remembering that the main pastime of the Suffragettes during WW1 was handing out white feathers to men who were invalided out of the army, or who they suspected were not manly enough to throw themselves in front of German machine gun or cannon fire with enthusiasm.
It is also the case that the widening of sufferage was merely a continuation of Enlightenment thinking: a social, political, intellectual and cultural movement that men came up with very happily on their own. Indeed, the first pamphleteer for votes for women was a man. Furthermore, as you say, the Pankhursts probably slowed things down because pro-women’s vote male parliamentarians had to contend with the argument that the antics of the Sufferagettes proved that women were too irrational and emotionally unstable to be entrusted with a vote. To many, the Suffragettes mostly served as the perfect illustration of why women were unfitted for a wider political role in society.
The notion that women ‘won’ the vote by fighting for it is absurd. Most of the people who did the real fighting were men – especially people like John Stewart Mill, who was a million times more important than Emmeline Pankhurst – mostly because he wasn’t mad. Certainly, all of the intellectual work was done by men except for a very tiny number of women who were educated in Enlightenment thinking by men. Like many things, women were given the vote as a free gift from men.
As you say, the participation of women in the war effort pretty-much closed the case because the logic of extending the franchise to a wider range of men was partly grounded in the same line of reasoning – if a man can be called upon to serve his country then he’s earned the right to have a say in how it’s run. The difference is that ‘service’ for women didn’t mean the battlefield. And so men were told, “You’re getting a say in your country because your country may demand that you fight and die for it,” whereas women were told, “You’re getting the vote because your country may ask you to stand in for your brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, etc., while they’re away fighting and dying.”

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Interesting post, thank you.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Micah, I don’t know if you’ll pick this up but I needed a few days to think before responding, or whether to respond at all.

I wonder what has caused you to be such an angry person. I don’t think anyone from a loving home could be as angry, unless they had an illness and you seem too rational for that.
This is just a comments page where disparate people comment on articles and put forward their ideas, you fight back with such verbal aggression as if your life depended on it. Why?

Don’t go through life full of anger and hate, try and be objective, talk to someone you can trust who will help you sort things out.
Different ideas about politics are really not as important as your happiness and well-being.

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago

49 forcefeedings in seven imprisonments, suicide by racehorse. Keep re-writing history, if you must, I love to hear supposed “non-feminists” expressing opinions they think women shouldn’t be allowed to have and showing the results of the hard work of people whom they claim did nothing. Your screaming hypocrisy and ironic presence on this thread is proof of the work of women whose morality you will never approach.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Emily Davidson was martyred to the cause via racehorse 

LOL

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

tl;dr

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

See my post above.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

And she follows up the marriage part by using the 1960s as an example. Of what exactly? A woman today is not under those restrictions. Neither is a man. In the US, half the marriages end in court and that is among those who bother with it in the first place.

S A
S A
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Also Ireland! the fact it was 60 years ago is obviously weird but to pick Ireland as your model is very odd.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I think this is an overly harsh critique. The point she makes has always struck me as the most important question to ask Jordan Peterson, which hatchet interviewers such as Cathy Newman always fail to ask: to what extent is his account of hierarchy in our societies merely descriptive and therefore changeable, and to what extent is it normative or, at least, inevitable?

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Jordan P is simply dismantling by rational arguments the PC scoring mechanism that more or less works like this.

White -1 Black +1‹Male -3 female +3‹hetero -4 Gay +5 Muslim +4 Conservative -2 liberal 0 Marxist +3, family ( traditional ) one income -6.

Jordan makes the point that the traditional system of values is far from perfect, but replacing it with a different system as BLM etc and most of the media advocate, simply creates a different process of discrimination with a different set of winners and losers. Thomas Sowell, many feminists and others have come to realise, that these woke solutions far from helping often make things much worse by virtue of unintended consequences.

Last edited 3 years ago by James Rowlands
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

I am minus 16! No wonder I feel so out of step with the world.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yeah, me too. I wonder when I’ll get a call from the mysterious ‘Patriarchy’ to come and become a member. It sure sounds good, having all that power and status.

chriswroath
chriswroath
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

We must be brothers, I’m – 16 also!

jamie buxton
jamie buxton
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Agreed – and from what I can gather, he seems to be suggesting that it is normative.

David Fitzsimons
David Fitzsimons
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Hierarchy is descriptive and normative. The word describes what we observe in a multitude of social settings currently in place, but other hierarchies could and would exist. That is, I would argue that hierarchies are inevitable in human social systems but that the details are only weakly influenced by biological imperatives*.
*My opinion is undoubtedly based on the prevailing attitudes when I learned evolutionary biology (c 1990), but I studied social dominance in depth. I have not read Peterson because, from what I have read in reviews of his work, he get’s the biology wrong (he is naive in relating the simple to the complex).

Last edited 3 years ago by David Fitzsimons
jamie buxton
jamie buxton
3 years ago

Yes – Agreed. This confirms my impression of JP that he’s a brilliant and charismatic speaker, a successful writer of self help books but flawed as an academic. His arguments generally fall down when fellow academics in his field look at them.

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
3 years ago
Reply to  jamie buxton

Get a grip,you are just bitter and nasty.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Hartlin

What happened to the mute button?

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  David Hartlin

No but I’m not at all surprised to find out that he’s a junkie. That’s a good thing by the way. It means the flat effect I always picked up on was just from drugs and not true psychopathy. When he gets sober after a few years of really learning to process emotions his work might be worth reading. It’s scandalous he was advising other people on how to live. In my view he owes all of you a deeply felt apology for advising you on how to do something that he himself was not even capable of. If he stays clean and appropriately apologizes for suckering so many hateful and desperate people into being even more hateful and desperate than they already were, I might read his work some day, when he’s clear headed and has actually experienced the “life” that’ he’s telling everyone else how to navigate.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  jamie buxton

Well, there’s no accounting for tastes. You would probably find Diane Abbott ‘charismatic’ or ‘intelligent’.

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

I would advise you to try Hemingway and stick to straight fiction if you want to read drunk or drug-addled minds. Reading someone like Dr. Robert Hare might help you with discernment, too.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  jamie buxton

That’s because you’re crazy.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Mr Nash
I missed your comment.You ask a very important question, and I wish Ms McCartney had asked it with equal elegance without resorting to gender war cliches.
As to your question, Rousseau (I think) said: “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains” (by man I am sure he meant human beings, lest someone accuses him of misogyny). Hierarchies are normative; what changes is the rigidity of boundaries.

Last edited 3 years ago by Vikram Sharma
rvidunas
rvidunas
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

In “Straw Dogs”, John Gray cites Joseph de Maistre on the Rousseau dictum: to think that, because a few people sometimes seek freedom, all human beings want it is like thinking that, because there are flying fish, it is in the nature of fish to fly. So far hierarchies are normative in meeting some basic needs for nearly all.

Natalija Svobodné
Natalija Svobodné
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

But then what society could you ever form that didn’t have a hierarchy? Every iteration has one needed to enforce laws, fairness. Anarchist societies don’t work,communism and collectivism, are an affront to personal dignity and freedom.
We are a social creature – hierarchy is in our dna.

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Peterson responds that he was high the entire time and he can’t believe you suckers took it all seriously.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Have I struck a nerve with you? See, two can play this game.
I did not accuse her of being a woman, just reducing complex social questions to one about gender. Next you will accuse me of mansplaining.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Every ‘social question’ (the word ‘social’ has no meaning in itself) resolves into the questions ‘Who tells whom to do what and what authority have they to do so?’
On the left this question is assumed to have been answered, definitively, and thus it is never asked.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

If by being a man and speaking you mean he was mansplaining, yes.

Crow T. Robot
Crow T. Robot
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Just call Vikram a misogynist and make your identitarian accusation plain.

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
3 years ago
Reply to  Crow T. Robot

LOL

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Just as a woman could not escape a bad marriage, neither could a man.

The situation today has improved for women, but not for men. Women can end a marriage for good, but a man is never really married nor is he ever really divorced. He can be married on false pretences, and pursued for more money decades after a divorce.

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

literally is not a violin small enough. We are talking, or Peterson was, about getting the hell beat out of you, about marital rape, about little children being clobbered. Not about spousal support.

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

“…pursued for more money decades after a divorce” is hardly true in the U. S. nowadays. If he is extremely rich and can support a penurious woman, there will be judges who figure he should do it instead of the taxpayers. But it doesn’t happen in the ordinary peoples’ cases.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Do you mean for child support?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

No, for herself. If you Google ‘”Dale Vince” “Kathleen Wyatt” divorce’ you will find the case of a woman who sought more money from someone she had divorced 20 years earlier. He became wealthy later, so she came after his money – with whose creation she had had literally nothing to do – and she actually won. He was not divorced at all, in effect.

Kathy Leicester
Kathy Leicester
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Nicely said.

David Hartlin
David Hartlin
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Taking your personal demons out for a walk today?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Hartlin

You don’t usually see this type of crank here. Which makes it such a great place to talk with people who don’t agree with you as well as those who do.

Henneli Greyling
Henneli Greyling
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Gosh, you sound very bitter and not at all wise. On the contrary . . . As a woman I would like to point out that women ‘like you’ do not speak for me in any way. And it seems you enjoy not only hassling people – men AND women – online but probably do so in real life on a daily, minute by minute basis. Which probably makes you very disliked by all and so greatly influences your warped world view.

Last edited 3 years ago by Henneli Greyling
Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I don’t normally resort to personal comments, but the remark “because of a chromosome” borders on moronic stupidity. The difference between you and an ape or a lower life form is just chromosomes.
Please don’t let your anger make you become silly.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Keep ya hair on! You’ve completely missed the point of the article. The marriage bit was just an example and she’s not saying it couldn’t apply to men.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Women cared about other women’s lives and have changed the world because of it. Imagine what men could do for men if they could transcend their selfishness and self-pity.

That’s one of the most entertaining generalisations I’ve read in a long time.

John Private
John Private
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Men also cared about women’s lives and vice versa. My mother and father loved and respected each other and it was a joy to behold. It sounds like you hate all men and something has caused this.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I’m a woman and if i had a penny for each time i was accused of “mansplaining” online, i’d be rich.
Not quite sure if you’re aware that the vast majority of us sane women abhors your toxic feminist bullcrap with a fiery passion.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Allons Enfants

Reading these posts of yours I was about to write something along the lines of “back away, no sudden movements” etc. But I stopped when it struck me that you really are in a great deal of pain, as evidenced mostly by this furious projection at Peterson and anyone who takes you on. He’s “cold”, he’s “dark”, he’s “soulless”. Those who don’t agree with your worldview are “spineless” and “deluded”. And on and on. I honestly think you need to get off the internet and get some help.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

You’ve missed the point of the article. The bit about marriages was just to illustrate a point and she hasn’t said it couldn’t apply the other way round.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

12 Rules for Life is not a book for males or one that appeals mostly to men, the author is way off track there. It has universal common sense ideas and principles. Men don’t need to be told not to lie simply because they are men. Everyone needs to hear that.
I’ve never found Peterson to be “testy” in interviews but I have enjoyed some of them as many interviewers try so hard to misstate his positions and ideas. It’s quite comical sometimes and yet he never gets snotty with any of them, just patiently tells them that they are not talking about any of his actual ideas.
What I find truly interesting and admirable about Peterson in addition to the plain old common sense he espouses, is that he appears to be uncancellable. No matter how hard the lefties try, they can’t seem to stop him from spreading his ideas. Must be so infuriating.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Not really got any skin in this particular game, but I think you might have picked the wrong person to reply to like that there.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

speaking of arrogant, myopic and misogynist….

Henneli Greyling
Henneli Greyling
3 years ago

You keep harping on “pill popper”? Is this the best insult you can come up with?

John Private
John Private
3 years ago

I have always found him to be humble. Opinion is subjective.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

I’ve never found Peterson to be “testy” in interviews but I have enjoyed some of them as many interviewers try so hard to misstate his positions and ideas.

I’ve seen Peterson in a state I would call testy, but it’s not surprising, given how often and how grossly his opinions are misrepresented by seemingly intelligent people.
I can’t think of anyone in the English-speaking world who is more misrepresented and unfairly traduced than Peterson.

Craig Bishop
Craig Bishop
3 years ago

I find it interesting, if not downright malevolent, that The Guardian keeps the article titled, “How dangerous is Jordan Peterson, the rightwing professor who ‘hit a hornets’ nest'”: as No.10 most accessed story on its Science page, despite it being written in Feb 2018. Usually, The Guardian puts a yellow banner over old stories, stating this article is 6 months or 4 years or however old. However, No. 4 on this Top 10 listing, about Australia’s marsupials, does indeed have a caveat that the article is two months old. The Jordan Peterson article is so badly written, and so biased, it’s quite surreal. In a nutshell, they call him a drug-addled, loony alt-right, conspiracy theorist, a cultist, ad nauseam. It is so odd, and obviously a deliberate editorial smear campaign kept on the Top 10 stories listings, I suspect in retaliation for his utter, utter evisceration of Cathy Newman. And, of course, there is absolutely no attempt to answer their original question, on how dangerous he allegedly is. It is such an awkwardly gauche piece of editorial tomfoolery that it makes you question the entire newsroom process. Who is that upset or threatened by the man that they need to keep reminding their readers that there is this dangerous terrorist, in effect, walking around selling books and corrupting young males?

George Glashan
George Glashan
3 years ago
Reply to  Craig Bishop

I think you misunderstand the utility of The Guardian, it’s there for a sanity check on yourself. If you ever read The Grievance and find yourself agreeing with it you know its time to get yourself sectioned, possibly lobotomized for your own safety. I’m only half joking. If you read The Guardian especially the headlines as they are the most obvious editorial points, but understand the opposite of what they write you will be better informed. so in your example can be better understood as – Jordan Peterson is safe he’s not rightwing and he’s never hit a hornets nest.
The Guardian , not even once.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Jordan Peterson: “I hit a hornets’ nest at the most propitious time.”

jill dowling
jill dowling
3 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Enjoying the Guardian’s new name!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Craig Bishop

And, of course, there is absolutely no attempt to answer their original question, on how dangerous he allegedly is. 
that’s a feature of the modern-day, slash and burn left. The accusation is accepted as an article of faith. To even question its validity suggests something wrong with you.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Craig Bishop

Just read the Guardian piece. It doesn’t mention drugs. It doesn’t call him a loony or alt-right. It explicitly states that he isn’t a white nationalist. It does say he supports conspiracy theories about post modernist cultural marxism taking over academia and that he’s popular with a wide spread of people who include . Good point about the banner on the age of the article and odd that the piece is still in the top ten. Maybe it’s got back in the charts because of the new book?
It does address the how dangerous he is question in the section where it quotes an assessment of his main threat being how his beliefs ‘detract from more critical, informed and, frankly, interesting conversations’.
In summary, your summary of The Guardian piece is as biased as you claim the piece is about Peterson. But I’ve learned more about his views so thanks for pointing me in its direction.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

If you seriously think that The Grievance is interested in “critical, informed and, frankly, interesting conversations” I have a bridge to sell you.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

To be honest, Joe. Depends on how you approach things. I read The Guardian, Telegraph, UnHerd, Jewish Chronicle and bits and pieces from other publications like The Spectator, Times Literary Supplement, New Statesmen – not because I’m looking for things I agree with but so I can come across different views and opinions and hopefully get a better understanding of why people have different opinions and how that might even influence my own. To that purpose I try not to disregard something just because its in a publication whose content I largely disagree with.

renatojohnsson
renatojohnsson
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Nah, the Guardian has become horrific, along with the US legacy newspapers, the NYTimes and Washington Post. The Independent jumped ship to workness ages ago, but once upon a time, in the late 1990s, it was the greatest newspaper i have come across

S A
S A
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

The issue with many modern publications is that they could actually be written by algorithm. Almost all Peterson coverage, anything “woke” it is not like finding an original argument you disagree with it is an argument that has been made and refuted years ago. It is very hard to find new takes on issues.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

I have the same approach – truly. I read widely, and deliberately. I go as far out (occasionally, not that often) as the Grauniad on one edge and Breitbart at the other. I prefer calmer, saner publications such as the Times, Telegraph, Economist, Prospect, and even (with care) the BBC website.
The NYT is engaged in self-destruction as it transforms from a news site to an outrage site (like the Graun did a few years ago).
I like this site, mostly, but watch with interest how its comment censorship policy develops.
One of my concerns about the state of our current “intellectual climate” is how moribund it has become – diversity is just about look, not thought.

renatojohnsson
renatojohnsson
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

LOL

Craig Bishop
Craig Bishop
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Hi Mark, I see that the article has today vanished from the Top 10 on the Guardian’s Science page. Yay! I call that a victory.
And, to be fair, when you say about someone, “No, he is definitely not a white nationalist, but….” the audience can’t help but think, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. That is exactly in the same category as a person who says, “I do like black people, but…” Or, “There’s nothing wrong with trans-women, but…”
So, you are being a tad disingenuous there, Mark. Moreover, as soon as you put the words “alt-right” in the same sentence as an allegation, the link has been concretised in the reader’s mind. Take this example, from that article:
Peterson is not just another troll, narcissist or blowhard whose arguments are fatally compromised by bad faith, petulance, intellectual laziness and blatant bigotry. It is harder to argue with someone who believes what he says and knows what he is talking about – or at least conveys that impression.”
And tell me you don’t walk away from that paragraph thinking, ‘right, the damn bigot, he obvs is another troll, narcissist, blowhard, blatant bigot.” It’s classic guilt by association. Gaslighting, perhaps.
So, no, I don’t think my comment was as biased as The Guardian’s piece. But I do welcome your comment which forced me to check my own internal processes. That’s surely doesn’t happen enough to any of us.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Craig Bishop

Peterson is not just another troll, narcissist or blowhard whose arguments are fatally compromised by bad faith, petulance, intellectual laziness and blatant bigotry.

What’s particularly ironic is most critics of Peterson could in all honestly add a new clause to that sentence, reading “… whereas my arguments are.”

renatojohnsson
renatojohnsson
3 years ago
Reply to  Craig Bishop

now let’s not get to testy about the dear Guardian. i heard about Peterson through their coverage. I came for the outcry and stayed for the content. I’m still there. His thinking is at another level.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  renatojohnsson

Well it’s certainly at ‘another level’ to the Guardian, which I gave up on some time ago. But there is rarely anything particularly profound in what Peterson says. It’s mostly just basic stuff about self reliance.

Michael Johnston
Michael Johnston
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I disagree. The ‘self-reliance’ part, as valuable as it is, especially for troubled young people – is just the surface. Those who invest the considerable time and effort required to read his first book Maps of Meaning will be rewarded with deep insights into the structure of the human experience. Similarly, his analysis of the Book of Genesis in a series of talks, which can be found on his YouTube page, is a tour de force.

Last edited 3 years ago by Michael Johnston
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Craig Bishop

I have been in hysterics reading the comments under Toynbee’s latest rant. These people are literally psychotic.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Apples and trees.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

The Guardian has the most cancle policy of anywhere, try posting there, you get one ideological strike and you are gone. And an ideological strike is merely not agreeing.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I’ve disagreed with the “party line” in the Grauniad comments, and not been cancred. And there are lots of right-wing commenters over there (other than yourself), who don’t seem to have been cancelled either.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

I got put on “probation” at the Guardian at the end of last year. The article I took issue with had as its starting premise the claim that “anti-black racism has been at the heart of many of this year’s biggest crises”. That is simply false, either on a global scale, or with reference to the US or with reference to the UK, where the author was from. So I listed all the biggest crises of the year (Covid, Yemen, treatment of the Uighurs, Hong Kong, and numerous others). My attitude was evidently insufficiently unsympathetic, so I was punished.
But now the Guardian never really allows comments on anything but Labour Party policy, Brexit, football and pop culture. It simply won’t allow dissent on social justice issues.

Allons Enfants
Allons Enfants
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Likely you have no idea about the number of comments which don’t even make it to appear in the first place, as opposed to being deleted by mod.
Being one of those “right wing” regular commenters there (on my 4th account – the rest are all permabanned), it’s probably ⅓ of submitted comments what gets & remains visible. And i’m not exactly a bumbling idiot who keeps breaching the so called “terms & conditions” of the site.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago

For me, it’s more than Peterson stood up to woke persecution than his intellectual work with what seems like immense courage and integrity. His academic work seems interesting but then so does the work of thousands of academics. Unfortunately thousands of academics have not shown the same courage in the face of the anti-intellectual spite meted out to Peterson, let alone supported him as they should have. It’s a rare case of admiring an intellectual for what he does rather than what he says.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I agree. I have often said that there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly original in what Peterson says or writes, but he is notable for his bravery (and uniqueness among academics) in speaking some kind of truth.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

I am an academic, and the pusillanimity of academics, or worse, complicity has been deeply disheartening.
Nixon said that academic battles were so vicious because the stakes were so low. But in JPs case, it not merely an academic argument. There is a fundamental rot at the heart Anglospehere academia, which is both a cause and consequence of deeper social malaise.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I agree. Do you have a name for that rot?

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago

Identity politics, perhaps, or wokeism.

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago

May I suggest “complacency of comfort”?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

FRANKFURT SCHOOL, the intellectual, soft Marxist, school of thought from 1930’s Germany which set out to wreck the Traditional West by gnawing at its vitals from within. Later 1950s, moving to Columbia University, NY, it infested the USA academia, and via them, the school teachers. Try looking it up, and its 11 points for a dramatic view of its hopes.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
3 years ago

Autophagia (tried unsuccessfully to trace the originator of this insight).

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

…Vikram, Peter Turchin’s work, and his book “Ages of Discord” provide a mathematical modelling perspective on the “rot” which you describe. It could be that we are at he point in the cycle of structural demographic change, where population growth and good times have created a cohort of aspirants for elite positions which is larger than the volume of actual (valuable/productive) positions. To cope, artificial elite positions full of bitter people aware of their irrelevance, have metastasized across academia and elsewhere.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

Thank you. Will read

Stuart Bennett
Stuart Bennett
3 years ago

As far as I recall, the only issue he’s ever taken with feminism is with the extreme end that tells women that they are always oppressed and that all men are evil because they are men. I don’t believe I’ve ever read or heard him take issue with its successes at levelling the playing field. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Can I just add how refreshing it is to read a reasonable and civilised critique of Jordan Peterson.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Bennett

Peterson does not laud feminism(as an ideology). He does not describe himself as a ‘feminist’ precisely because, in his view, ideologies are extremely narrow or monist ways at looking at the world. Their lens is univariate – predicated on one totalising variable to the exclusion of all others; cf the C4 interview.

Last edited 3 years ago by michael stanwick
Diotima Socrates
Diotima Socrates
3 years ago

Personally, I’d rather watch feminists rip each other’s throats out over which of them qualifies, rather than enter the fray. As soon as you scratch the surface, most feminists can’t really say what a feminist is, or can only settle on a common-denominator definition that amounts to no more than a bunch of broad platitudes that everyone broadly agrees with anyway. There is therefore no logic to being a ‘feminist’ anyway because nobody opposes what they want. This means if you are determined to become a ‘feminist’ you are compelled to invent stuff in order to fight it, which is a humiliating state of affairs and mostly make you look idiotic.

David George
David George
3 years ago

Thanks Jenny. The book is due out today and I’m looking forward to receiving my copy. I found the first Twelve Rules needs to be read slowly, thoughtfully and thoroughly; it’s richness is not always immediately apparent.
how might disparate individuals best co-operate to effect valuable political change?”
Perhaps the prior book’s chapters contain the clues:
“Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world”
“Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)”
“Tell the truth — or, at least, don’t lie”
“Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t”

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

“Unfortunately, his new book forgets the status quo simply doesn’t work for everyone”
And it never will, the all too common reaction that my failures are the fault of someone else, society, “them” carries with it a lot of danger and little chance of success.
“It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world—a handyman’s dream, if ever there was one—is to fix yourself,”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for life.

Last edited 3 years ago by David George
Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

I can fix myself till Doomsday, but it won’t mean a better tax system, or that expert tax avoiders pay their fair share, or that hungry people are less exploited, or that rogue psychologists are reined in (a project in which I am involved, but which does not refer to JP), or that white supremacists are discouraged from Holocaust denial, or that extreme leftists are discouraged from gulag denial, or that financial criminals are stopped from causing crashes, or that… the list is endless.
There are reasonable causes in this world which are well worth supporting, but which won’t be addressed by perfecting myself.

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

I think the point Peterson is making Robert is that you will be in a much stronger position to influence the things you highlight if you have ‘fixed yourself’, and those around you first. He is also at pains to highlight a very similar list of things to fix as you.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Price

How perfectly do you have to “fix” yourself (never mind those around you) before you can work on anything else that needs fixing? Isn’t there a risk in requiring some sort of utopian self before addressing the non-utopian outside world?
Sure, dealing with major issues you have in yourself will help a whole swathe of issues with how you relate to the world. It may even help with your attempts to change the world. But it won’t in itself make objective injustices go away – which I think was Robert’s point.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

There’s a million things wrong with the world Robert; malevolent people and systems that are unjust and so on. The idea that imperfect people can create a perfect system is the great conceit that JP is concerned with. People fall for the lie and things fall apart as exemplified by the unmitigated disasters that unfolded in the wake of the Utopian fantasies of the 20th century.
“To tell the truth is to bring the most habitable reality into Being. Truth builds edifices that can stand a thousand years. Truth feeds and clothes the poor, and makes nations wealthy and safe. Truth reduces the terrible complexity of a man to the simplicity of his word, so that he can become a partner rather than an enemy. Truth makes the past truly past, and makes the best use of the future’s possibilities. Truth is the ultimate, inexhaustible natural resource. It’s the light in the darkness.”

See the truth. Tell the truth.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 

Last edited 3 years ago by David George
David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Is it mere coincidence that the people clamouring for justice are so often filled with envy, resentment and hate, a will to power. What are the chances that the world that results from those impulses will be paradise.

“What justice means to us is precisely that the world be filled with the storms of our revenge“—thus they speak to each other. “We shall wreak vengeance and abuse on all whose equals we are not“—thus do the tarantula-hearts vow. “And ‘will to equality’ shall henceforth be the name for virtue; and against all that has power we want to raise our clamor!”

You preachers of equality, the tyrant-mania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves in words of virtue”.

Fredrich Nietzsche’s Thus spake Zarathustra:.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Is it mere coincidence that the people clamouring for justice are so often filled with envy, resentment and hate, a will to power. 

No coincidence at all. Many of these people – I have come to believe – simply have to see the world as full of horrible people in order a) to make themselves feel better about themselves and b) to give their lives meaning.
Their entire self-worth is completely invested in and dependent on the idea that they’re surrounded by wicked people.

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Too true, Robert. But fixing yourself won’t hurt anything, either. And who knows when lightning may strike, and you find yourself prepared and ready to do something that needed doing?

John Private
John Private
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

When it comes down to it, if you improve yourself you are more able to improve your society.
Hopefully others will also improve themselves.

Stewart Ware
Stewart Ware
3 years ago

If there is anyone out there who is unacquainted with Jordan Peterson, and there surely can’t be many, the first stop must be the infamous Channel 4 interview with Cathy Newman: https://youtu.be/aMcjxSThD54.

The constant attempts by Newman to misrepresent him and to put words into his mouth didn’t faze him and he was constantly polite and respectful. He even felt the need to help her out at the point when her misapprehensions about his ideas let her down and left her stumped for an answer.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Stewart Ware

Yes, that was and remains a moment of pure nectar.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
3 years ago
Reply to  Stewart Ware

I think the recording his daughter made of the Decca Aitkenhead interview for The Sunday Times and releasing it after the article came out, was a master stroke. For the comparison between the two yields the most unambiguous illustration of malevolent reporting by the MSM.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Stewart Ware

99% of my friends and acquaintances have never heard of him. He’s a pretty fringe character outside of these pages and YouTube algorithms. Sort of less well known Yuval Noah Harari level and about as interesting (not very) in my view.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

“It was the practical, patriotic socialism of Clement Attlee, for example, which gave Britain its National Health Service.”

Before the National Health Service came into existence everybody just died of their wounds and diseases, untreated, while yearning for some foreigner to come along and conquer Britain.

Last edited 3 years ago by Alison Houston
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Alison, I suspect your irony/sarcasm might go over the heads of some people in this instance.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

The whole of this UK Scamdemic is predicated on saving the NHS, the last surviving relic of that Attlee inspired utopian socialist nightmare we all had to live through as our reward for triumphing over Adolph.

Lady T managed to slay many a socialist monster, the miners, a plethora of nationalised industries, and off course she chastised much of the Trades Union movement.
Sadly her ‘reign ended prematurely thus both the NHS and Education avoided the scythe they so justly deserved.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago

Well said. I fear I scanned the rest of the review with reluctance and distaste after that muted paean of praise to the repulsive and murderous “NHS”.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

repulsive and murderous “NHS”.”
Do please explain.

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago

So that’s why similar lockdown measures have been brought in right across the world, including places which don’t have an equivalent of the NHS? It shouldn’t need saying at this point, but the point of lockdown measures was to save lives and prevent all health systems from being overwhelmed, to the point where hospitals were full, ambulances double-parked, and emergency calls were going unanswered in thousands because there was no more capacity.
The idea that privatising the NHS and adopting a more US-style system is risible. Not only is their life expectancy lower than ours, and their infant mortality rate at third world levels, but millions of people have no adequate cover, and can’t afford it. A third of US bankruptcies are caused by medical bills, and even well off people can find that chronic illness loses them their cover.
And all of this while spending 16-18% of GDP on health, against our 9.9%.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

The US “system” is not the only alternative, in fact arguably it is the worst. I live in France, which for all its deficiencies, does have a truly excellent health care system – we have made such a shibboleth of the NHS now, it is almost impossible to reform it. It’s just become a ghastly money pit.

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Why do defenders of our new religion assume its validity rets on a comparison with a USA based insurance system.There are any number of studies that conclude that the NHS has numerous failings and could benefit from reform.The Israeli health system is an interesting comparison with 4 separate but competing health providers funded by a mandatory contribution-I’m not saying it should be adopted but for heavens sake lets open our eyes.
To assert that worldwide lockdown is in someway a justification for our health system is a rather bizarre argument.And as for hospitals being full etc I suggest you look at previous UK winters when various respiratory diseases have caused chaos-I recall refrigerated lorries being commandeered by the Govt to store bodies some years ago-the NHS has run on a very low bed buffer for decades-despite te record amounts of money thrown at it by the (yes) Tories.
And the point of lockdown measures was to save lives rather skimps over the collateral damage caused by lockdown which I would argue when measured over the ensuing decade will demonstrate that it has caused more deaths when measured by pure numerical deaths and the QALY lost will be off the scale due to the demographic apartheid of this particular virus.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  croftyass

“despite the record amounts of money thrown at it by the (yes) Tories.”
Britain spends 2% less of its GDP on health than other Western European countries.
Under Labour, NHS targets ranging from waiting times in Accident and Emergency, to waiting times to start cancer treatment, were being met. They continued to be met for some years under the Conservatives, as the afterglow of Labour’s increase in NHS spending. In 2019 (ie before Covid arrived), as 9 years of Tory spending restrictions sapped the NHS, the targets were being missed for the first time, and missed across the board.

Last edited 3 years ago by Chris C
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Did Labour ever pay for that spending or did they leave the country basically bust and the Tories to find the money?
I can have a Ferrari outside my house in a heartbeat. The tricky bit is paying for it.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

“Did Labour ever pay for that spending or did they leave the country basically bust”
National Debt when Labour left office in 2010 – very roughly ÂŁ1 trillion (half of it inherited in 1997 from the previous 200 years of borrowing)
National Debt after 9.5 years of Conservative Government, in December 2019, before Covid came along: around ÂŁ2 trillion. Twice as much was borrowed by the Tories in 9.5 years as by Labour in 13 years.
Sloganising about “Labour left the country bust” is mindless regurgitation of Daily Express headlines.
But if you feel you can justify your statement given the above facts, please feel free to do so. I shall enjoy watching you.

Last edited 3 years ago by Chris C
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

What was the PSBR
1/ when Labour entered office in 1997
2/ When Labour left office in 2010?
For bonus points, is it your contention that the Tories should have cut harder, to run a smaller deficit?
The epic dishonesty of Labour supporters is matched only by their grotesque irresponsibility.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

The major problem with Labour funding of new NHS projects such as new builds was the accelerated and irresponsible use of John Major’s PFI wheeze to pass the costs to later taxpayers (and the profits to private enterprise). Funding of ongoing expenses like adequate staffing was much more likely to be covered by straightforward taxation – or sometimes “stealth taxes”.
The great recession and the related bailouts had more to do with the deficit than responsible spending on health did.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Britain does devote less of our GDP to health than most comparable countries. That’s because those countries have a sizeable contribution from private healthcare whereas here, as your comment exemplifies, individuals’ contributions to their own healthcare are actively discouraged.

Last edited 3 years ago by Dougie Undersub
Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

The healthcare spending comparison includes money raised through general taxation, and money raised through private insurance premiums, or even billed directly to patients.
Taking all that into account, the UK spends less as a proportion of GDP. Hence the lower levels of service.
In the UK, individual contributions to their own healthcare are encouraged – in two important ways. Firstly by cost-based rationing of NHS resources (which drives those who can afford it towards private care). And secondly by an effective subsidy to the private sector whereby the NHS bears the burden of emergency / intensive care when something goes wrong in the privately run operation mills.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Most countries have much more robust public/private systems, unlike the UK. But don’t pretend that people in the UK with money as well as those who work in the UK and have private insurance as a workplace benefit are not already paying their way out of NHS level care. Life expectancy is not solely determined by healthcare of course. But if you want to look at how healthcare does matter in life expectancy, check out cancer survival stats, the US vs UK.
Low spending on healthcare is a point of pride for some. Personally I am fine with every penny being spared on your care. But not mine.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Rather like 1914 it will be judged by History as one of the most catastrophic decisions of all time.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

She deindustrialised Britain and handed the keys to the unproductive but wealthy financial manipulators in the City of London.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

Labour reduced manufacturing by more.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago

I guess you missed the memo — the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the healthcare system.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Yes, I stumbled over that line too. Does it prove anything at all, given that Germany’s welfare state and statutory health insurance system were introduced in 1883 by the staunchly right-wing Otto von Bismarck?

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago

I’m not sure that the right or left nature of the government in question was the point, so much as the fact that there was social change involved. The author’s whole point in that section seems to be about how Peterson’s views explain or deal with positive social change over time, either in the past or future.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

In fact what what we had before the war was very arguably a better, more cost effective and more accountable system. Th NHS largely exists for the benefit of its employees. I should know I have worked in it.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
3 years ago

Although health systems now vs. the 30s are very different things given the enormous differences in technology and scientific understanding.
Personally I’ve always thought the German/Singaporean model of public health insurance with private providers has the optimal balance between the externality gouging excesses of the US insurer led system and the sclerotic inefficiency of the British model.

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago

I have experience of the German system, though not the Singaporean. High tech, but staff attitudes were appalling and patient care very poor. Interestingly, a friend (British nurse) employed there thought the same, from experience in a different way and in different hospitals.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

And the Germans spend a higher percentage of a higher-per-capita GDP on healthcare. Multiply those together and they have a lot more money to play with – yet as you point out, no magic solution.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Healthcare bureaucracy in Germany approaches NHS levels. I have experience with family in Germany as well. One sister in law waited years for a simple fibroid operation that impacted her fertility. My mother in law was sent home with a giant magnifying glass at 80 rather than the eye surgery she needed. Germany has a startlingly low number of specialist hospitals.
You can opt out of the public system in Germany if you make above a certain income which isn’t very high, are self-employed, work part-time, or are an artist.
As to money, let’s not forget that Germany skips defense spending so it should have a lot more to spend on healthcare. Can’t do much about the bureaucracy though. When you can’t be fired no matter what you do, you’re all set up for poor service.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago

You clearly know all about it, then. Frontline demands, financial systems, logistics, training, technology, etc, etc.
What we had before the war employed my grandfather comfortably enough, but the life expectancy of most people doesn’t suggest it benefited them much.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

The four commonest pills prescribed by modern doctors are antibiotics, antidepressants, contraceptives, and painkillers. Three out of four of those didn’t exist before WW2 and the painkillers they had weren’t as good or were bloody dangerous (eg morphine).
The world economy was $4 trillion in 1939 versus $133 trillion now.
It’s probably safe to assume, given these facts, that we’d have seen an improvement in life expectancy even without the sainted NHS, not least because countries without it or anything similar have done so.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Mostly for the reasons given by Jon Redman

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

The four commonest pills prescribed by modern doctors are antibiotics, antidepressants, contraceptives, and painkillers. Three out of four of those didn’t exist before WW2 and the painkillers they had weren’t as good or were downright dangerous (eg morphine). The world economy was $4 trillion in 1939 versus $133 trillion now. It’s safe to assume given these facts that we’d have seen an improvement in life expectancy even without the sainted NHS, not least because countries without it or anything similar have done so.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

what we had before the war was very arguably a better, more cost effective and more accountable system.”
No. Because of the poor access to healthcare of those without much money. Though that doesn’t bother some on the right, particularly in the US still. And those who had lived with Britain’s prewar health system voted overwhelmingly in 1945 to replace it with Labour’s NHS.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The NHS now has a quarter of the hospital beds that it started with. If nobody could afford healthcare back then, who, exactly, was occupying all the beds that the NHS has got rid of?

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Medicine across the world tries to use drugs etc to minimise hospital bed use. People do not spend two weeks in hospital after giving birth, for example.
Nit-picking doesn’t alter the fact that between the wars the upper middle class had the best treatment available, the middling middle class had reasonable treatment which they caned themselves to pay for, and the working class had limited treatment. That’s one of the reasons why Labour swept to power in 1945.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

The Marxist lies weren’t a factor then.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Are you seriously claiming that Labour swept to power after the war on a tide of Marxist lies?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Yes. Labour has only ever taken power based on lies, spite, envy and hatred.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Healthcare was much different before the war. It was much less involved, people just lived with conditions that are routinely treated today. This is one reason the NHS doesn’t keep up. It was designed to manage a much lower level of care than is available today. If you have a broken leg, it’s fine. If what you have is expensive to treat or you don’t fit into defined parameters for certain tests, you may be out of luck.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

Attlee and Bevan fondly imagined that demand on the NHS would decline after a few years, as the nation would be healthier. In fact, the opposite happened. The longer you keep people alive, the more healthcare they need.
Demand is essentially unlimited, which is what happens when stuff is free.

Last edited 3 years ago by Dougie Undersub
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Yes absolutely. We see this with Medicare in the US. One of the things that the US has to better control is healthcare for the very elderly. Today you can get anything, no matter how old you are. Former Senator Bob Dole at age 97 with stage 4 lung cancer, undergoing treatment. Is this reasonable? Much of the expense of US healthcare is spent on the very elderly.
And as someone with two parents still alive in their 90s, I pay their bills and see what goes through Medicare for them. There is nothing off limits, at one point last year, my dad’s doctor was considering a heart operation on a 93 year old. My mother, with dementia, was offered testing and surgery if necessary for a hoarse rasp in her voice that had been there for years. She is now getting speech therapy. At 92 with dementia. Where does this stop? I mean, I love my folks but is this reasonable? And of course it’s all “free” unless you count what their grandkids are chipping in for it.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Yes, we see this with Medicare in the US. Senator Bob Dole at 97 with stage 4 lung cancer undergoing treatment. To what purpose?
The vast majority of spending in US healthcare is through Medicare and it’s within the last few years of life.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

The vast majority of healthcare spending in any healthcare system at all is in the last years of a patient’s life.
Modern healthcare (however funded) costs more and covers more ailments now than it did in the middle of the last century.
Neither of these truths is limited to systems funded by public taxes – or by private insurance – or by just billing patients directly.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

A hospital occupancy rate of 100% is not healthy – spare capacity is needed for several reasons: to reduce infections, to manage regular seasonal fluctuations in demand, to cope with pandemics.
Arguably capacity has been cut more than was wise in the past decade or so, and more than was justified by increased “efficiency” in recovery or from less invasive surgery.

Last edited 3 years ago by Paul N
Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Actually, many of them did. They used to think twice and three times before calling a doctor. That is probably one reason (among others) why our lifespan has increased so much (and now exceeds that of the US, where a private system holds sway).

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Lifespan has increased throughout the west, not just in the UK. And not everywhere in the UK has lifespan had much increase. Glasgow for example. The US is a public/private system.

Diotima Socrates
Diotima Socrates
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

It wasn’t the patriotic socialism of Clement Attlee that gave Britain its National Health Service – it was America’s willingness to bankroll the British social state as part of post-W2 European stabilisation. US foreign policy gave Britain its National Health Service, not Attlee – he couldn’t afford it.

chriswroath
chriswroath
3 years ago

That is not something I have considered before.

Nancy Corby
Nancy Corby
3 years ago

The author has wisely avoided the shallow superficialities and misguided stupidities of journalists like Cathy Newman and Decca Aitkenhead: unlike those two (and so many others), she has actually read what Peterson has said. Nevertheless, I still detect in this article an acknowledgement of the talents of Peterson that is still somewhat grudging. This takes the form of molehill versus mountain arguments – with subtle suggestions that, after all, Peterson is overstating his case when he points to the excesses of the Woke. For example, she grossly understates the problem in the current hysteria (and frequently extremely violent and damaging actions) by intersectional feminists. What she describes simplistically as “relatively trivial shaming campaigns” (REALLY?) by these radical activists is in fact often directed at venomously destroying the careers and livelihoods of people who don’t espouse the party line. Witness young women activists during BLM protests screaming through megaphone into the ears of elderly couples trying to have a quiet dinner in a restaurant, or “cancelling” women who don’t share the simplistic party line, or hounding people out of university jobs and off Hollywood screens… The number of examples is too distressing to render as “relatively trivial”. When you argue that Peterson is making a molehill out of a mountain that is simply because when you stand too far from a mountain it looks like a molehill. Take a closer look at the Stalinist motives behind such “trivial” campaigns. Peterson is constantly warning us all not to be so glib. As a consequence, commentators on his work should also avoid being glib.  

Jim le Messurier
Jim le Messurier
3 years ago

‘Unfortunately, his new book forgets the status quo simply doesn’t work for everyone.’
Unfortunately, no status quo on the planet has ever, or will ever, work for everyone. A status quo that ‘works for everyone’ is an impossibility. Unless you believe in Utopia.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

How rare to read a balanced review of Peterson from somebody who’s actually read his work. Nicely done.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

it is difficult to comprehend how his latest book reportedly had a number of junior employees at Penguin Random House Canada protesting, and even becoming tearful, at the decision to publish it. 
Is it difficult? Really? When the man is painted as something other than he is, and those employees are too lazy or too stupid to some independent research, it is very predictable that pearls would be clutched. When you are on the side of silencing someone, you are wrong. That is as close to an absolute as there is.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

When you are on the side of silencing someone, you are wrong. That is as close to an absolute as there is.”
I guess that must also apply to Daniel Finkelstein’s column in the London Times last week, calling for the University of Bristol to sack a lecturer for criticising the State of Israel.

Diotima Socrates
Diotima Socrates
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris C

You guess right. Well done.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

So simple and yet so difficult for so many. Whether you agree with someone or not has no bearing on their right to speak freely.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“the US, it remains the only OECD country without a national statutory paid maternity leave.”
The US is a federal republic. Maternity leave is a state government issue and some states do mandate paid maternity leave. But let’s review what being a federal republic means. In order for the federal government to pass a new law that restricts individual (including private business) rights, it generally needs to be shown that doing so fulfills a role of the federal government and that it does so using the least restrictive means. So what federal government role would maternity leave fall under and how would mandating leave for every business in the country be considered the least restrictive means?
Then there’s the tenth amendment which says that any power not specifically delegated to the federal government by the constitution is reserved for the people (which means the states). Nowhere does the constitution list maternity leave as a federal government responsibility. I mean no disrespect to the author but these are bedrock principles of US government and should be familiar to any author writing on the subject.
The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, which is a federal law upheld under the interstate commerce clause guarantees some but not all employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for maternity as well as several other situations.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
alistairgorthy
alistairgorthy
3 years ago

Sometime in the future the courts might decide differently – constitutions are human instruments, subject to change. Maternity leave might not be mentioned, but equal rights for women might one day be so. Then maternity leave might be mandated.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  alistairgorthy

What rights do women NOT have, other than the right to not register for selective service in the US? Otherwise, the goals of the original feminists have been reached, to the point where their successors are now turning on themselves by reducing womanhood to a matter of identity. But that aside, the question stands – if, as you say, equal rights “might one day be,” what rights are currently lacking?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Good point, perhaps selective service registration would become a requirement for women. Would love to see the look on progressive females faces should that occur. Anyone for AOC in combat fatigues?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  alistairgorthy

I guess there’s always the possibility of a constitutional amendment to make maternity leave a responsibility of the federal government, but that seems unlikely.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

The US is a federal republic. Maternity leave is a state government issue and some states do mandate paid maternity leave.”
“The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, which is a f